The University of Reading has a scheme for study leave for academic staff. In the introduction to the scheme it is described as:
“The University recognises the substantial benefits that can accrue to individuals, Schools, and the University as a consequence of academic staff having regular periods of study leave. Study leave is a sustained period of time (usually 3 months or longer) in which the normal duties of a member of academic staff are wholly or substantially reduced with the approval of the Head of School. Such leave is essential to maintain the vitality and creativity required for successful and original teaching, scholarship and research throughout an academic career.”
Normal expectation at Reading is that academic staff can take one term in nine, as study leave.
It is over 10 years since I spent a sabbatical year working with Vodafone, it was an interesting area to be in 1999/2000 before the bubble burst and when we were all worried about the millennium bug.
Over the last years I have done lots of things; the days, months and years have rushed by with little time for me to reflect or write in any detail about what I have done. In academia a lot how we are judged is based on what we publish, and random blog posts most certainly don’t count. Every day I go in to my office with ambitions to reflect and write I find get drawn in to other things. So at the end of last year I decided that I needed to do something about this, and started to explore the possibilities of a sabbatical in which I could concentrate on reflecting and writing, along with making plans for the future.
It has taken a long time from my first tentative enquiry to my Head of School (in December 2010) to me knowing (July 2011) that I will definitely be allowed to take the year from the 1st September 2011 as study leave. My case was well supported by the fact that my National Teaching Fellowship came with a sum of money that is to be spent on my self development, and that I have agreed that the School use this to cover my duties. All the details of exactly how my duties will be covered are not yet finalized. This is a shame as I would have wished by now to have a list so I could be certain everyone knew who would be doing what. Essentially I am not expecting to be doing any routine administration or teaching, but I do expect to continue supervising my research students, along with working on my research and related projects. I am confident that everything will be properly covered, but I’ll keep an eye on the handover, even after 1st September.
I’ll write more about what I am actually doing in future posts.